Are two-year degrees paying off?

By Tyler Profilet - bio | email

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Some experts say more students should consider going to trade school or striving for a two-year degree.

So are two year degrees paying off for graduates in today's economy?

Students Heartland News spoke with a Three Rivers Community College say the job market looks good for them, especially in the health professions. One student says the job market looks better for her than for her friends with four year degrees.

"I have a job for when I graduate," said Chelsea Morgan, TRCC student.  "I don't know how bad it is for them, but it's not very good."

Chelsea Morgan graduates next week, and already has a job lined up at Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center as a lab technician.

Three Rivers Vice President Dr. Wes Payne says as it pertains to the job market, two year colleges are closing the gap with four year universities.

"That has a lot to do with the type of jobs that are being created in the modern economy, and what's needed by employers and by industries," Payne said.

Dr. Payne also says community colleges can focus on the needs of the local economy, as opposed to four year universities which he says can't change their curriculum as quickly.

"We have the opportunity to strongly focus on bridging that gap between high school and the professional degree," he said.

Morgan says another advantage is pay.

She says since she's not leaving school with a lot of debt, she doesn't demand a high salary, making her attractive to employers.

"When I was doing my rotations, I was talking to the supervisors about the job and the pay, and they said it was in their best interest to hire people with lower education because I can do what people with a four year degree can do with less pay, less everything else," Morgan said.

Dr. Payne also says he expects community college enrollment to keep increasing as the economy continues to change.

A two year degree is not for everyone.  Dr. Payne says students seeking jobs as accountants, engineers, and in many other fields still need four year degrees.

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